THE LOS ANGELES TIMES – DEBORAH VANKIN
Failure, it turns out, is an option.
The Museum of Failure, a traveling pop-culture show presenting commercial products and services that rank as epic fails — beef lasagna frozen dinner from toothpaste maker Colgate, anyone? — has opened at downtown L.A.’s A+D Architecture and Design Museum. The show, a hit in Sweden this summer, was organized by Dr. Samuel West, a Swedish clinical psychologist and self-described “innovation researcher,” who has brought “Failure” to Los Angeles for a two-month run.
At the opening-night party Friday, guests nibbled on shrimp cocktail, snapped pictures of business ventures gone wrong and otherwise made a success of a place that celebrates the freedom to fail.
With 17,000 visitors in about three months in Helsingborg, Sweden, and with plans to tour internationally, isn’t there an inherent contradiction in the Museum of Failure?
“It’s hilarious to think of the Museum of Failure as a success,” West said. “I didn’t expect it. I was, and still am, shocked that I’m opening my little museum in Los Angeles. It’s surreal. It’s a nerdy exhibit — a collection of innovation failures — and I’m still getting used to the fact that people are interested in it.”
The museum resonates in an age of social media where we’re saturated with picture-perfect lifestyle imagery, he said.
“When people are presented with a perfect image of something — whether a product or a perfect person — it doesn’t feel authentic,” West said. “And the Museum of Failure, with its artifacts, feels — and is — completely genuine and authentic. And that’s something that’s not so common today.”
Here, in no particular order, are West’s picks for some of the biggest failures from the more than 100 flops at the Museum of Failure.